by Steven Ertelt
February 27, 2006
Portland, ME (LifeNews.com) — The Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine is coming under fire for allowing two pro-abortion politicians to sponsor a charity event at one of its churches. The diocese is defending the decision to permit to state representatives to organize the fundraiser.
Reps. Timothy Driscoll and Bob Duplessie helped put on a spaghetti dinner fundraiser Saturday night at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Westbrook. The dinner benefited Keep ME Warm, a program that helps provide funds for low-income families to have heat during the winter months.
Maine activist Paul Madore, director of the Maine Grassroots Coalition, and about a dozen supporters rallied Saturday at the diocesan offices in Portland.
"Pro-life Catholics have the responsibility to denounce evil and to hold the bishop accountable for failing to do the same," he said, according to a Press Herald newspaper report.
"It’s gotten to the point where ordinary Catholic faithful need to tell the clergy the difference between right and wrong," he added. "If they don’t care about standing against evil, maybe they’ll care when Catholics stop blindly sending them money."
But Marc Mutty, public affairs director for the Catholic Diocese of Portland told the Press Herald that the concerns about providing heating outweigh the concern over the lawmakers’ position on abortion.
Mutty said the diocese was in line with guidelines established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urging churches not to honor or provide a forum for pro-abortion lawmakers to promote their anti-life views.
"The bishop made it very clear soon after arriving in Maine that the church would not provide a forum for legislators who hold views contrary to the church’s," Mutty said.
"But that’s not to say we won’t cooperate with people who are working on issues consistent with the church’s views," he added.
Mutty told the Portland newspaper that had the lawmakers been promoting abortion, instead of the heating program, they would not have been allowed to do so.
"It was judged that the primary focus of this event was on raising money for this program, which is wholly supported by the diocese," he said.